We met Katherine of Lucky & In Love over the summer in the midst of a transition for her family and her business. She and her husband moved to San Diego from Arizona and (lucky for us!) she figured out that she was moving to our neighborhood. So we met up with her to talk about what it’s like building a new network, planning her own destination wedding, and all of the exciting things to come!
You grew up in the events industry. Did you get roped into projects at a young age?
I did! When I was about 8, my mom started bringing me with her to her catering jobs. They used to give me easy tasks to keep me entertained like folding napkins or setting the garnish on platters. Once I got a little older, I’d help set tables and décor, which was always my favorite part! I used to love helping her make baskets as well, the OG of welcome gifts. She’d curate the best collections of local snacks, scented toiletries and gift items you never knew you needed, and would always ask my opinions on what to add.
How did being raised by an entrepreneur influence in you?
Honestly, I don’t think I ever appreciated the impact until recently. My mother is an incredibly creative person with the best ideas for simplifying, while making everything look so aesthetically beautiful. She has a gift for being stress free and easy going when it comes to tough situations, it’s given me the ability to stay very even throughout any challenge thrown at me during a wedding. My dad has worked for himself since before I was born as well, and is fiercely protective of his vision and the future of his business. It’s taught me to be stubborn with my goals, and to move forward even if it’s not the popular choice when I know it’s right for me and the business.
Tell me about your journey becoming a business owner yourself. Was that always your goal or did you think you would end up doing something else?
Lucky & In Love is the consummation, and the start, of a dream that I’ve had since I was a child. I knew from about the age of 10 that I wanted to be a wedding planner. Where I got that — I have no idea! It’s always felt like a calling of sorts, even if I wasn’t sure the path that I would take to get here. In college, I studied communication and public relations, which seemed to be the closest I could get to planning. After graduation, I was lucky to work in PR at an advertising agency for a few years, before moving into fashion PR, which was heavier in event planning than the traditional agency media relations. Both taught me more about owning a business than I could’ve imagined, from tracking billable hours, managing expenses and event budgets, daily communication with clients and project management. Not to mention, when working at an agency, you certainly get over the dream of working a mere 40 hours a week! Nights, Saturdays, holidays, it’s all fair game when you have paying clients. Thankfully, my work-life balance has greatly benefited from being my own boss!
What are your favorite design elements?
I’m big on beautiful, organic looking floral elements, candlelight, and playing with textures as an important part of building a beautiful event design and color palette. I love to infuse events with special touches discovered throughout the evening, that all tie back to the couple, and their unique story.
What would you say is the Lucky & In Love signature?
It’s been such a joy to work with clients who have a similar design aesthetic to my own. I gravitate toward jewel tones, gorgeous saturations of color, natural elements and an effort to make each tablescape unique. I could spend all day playing around with ideas for place settings, from printed menus, name cards, natural touches like a spring of rosemary or something textured like a velvet ribbon. I’m always up for stacking! I’ve been known to stack a charger and a plate before the plate guests will actually eat off of is placed, then a napkin, a menu, maybe even a favor! I just love the look of well designed and curated layers.
You recently relocated to San Diego and we are so excited to have met you! But, we know that moving a business is no easy task. How has the process of transitioning been for you?
Moving to a new market has been a wonderful process and certainly challenging! It’s been such a joy getting to know new vendors in San Diego, and making fast friends with a few industry buds (like you ladies at Aisle Planner!). I can’t tell you how inspiring it feels to be exposed to new venues, new natural elements, even local restaurants, galleries and shops! I almost feel I’m on inspiration overload, constantly taking photos and saving business cards of ideas or places I want to return to. The most challenging part is of course client exposure. As we enter the glorious engagement season, I know there are San Diego couples out there who would be an amazing fit for the Lucky & In Love family! Yet it’s tough to track them down — I’m certainly feeling like a little fish in a big pond!
Have you had to shift your process or priorities during the move?
Thankfully, as I’ve said before, I am lucky to work with some truly amazing and understanding individuals. My previously booked clients for Fall 2015 and even Spring–Fall 2016, most of who will be married in Arizona, have been at the tip top of my priority list, to ensure they don’t feel they’re losing an ally or a friend as I move across state lines. I’ve never been so grateful for technology! Most of my work is computer based as it is, but it has made the transition seem non-existent. I’ve also had to get very comfortable, and find ways to make a 5-hour drive productive. I’m back and forth to Arizona about twice a month, and more during wedding season. I’ve been racing through my audiobook list like you wouldn’t believe!
Is there anything about living in San Diego that has surprised you?
My love for the water! I was born in California but raised in Seattle. After living in Arizona for the past five years, I completely forget how fantastic it is to live this close to a body of water. Sitting at the beach is one of the most rejuvenating and relaxing experiences, and it’s something I’ve been trying to make more time for. We’re lucky to live very close to the beach, and yet I still manage to forget it’s there!
You’re a newlywed yourself (congrats!!). Tell us about your experience planning your wedding in Italy from Arizona.
Thank you! Planning a destination wedding is flat out tough — even for a wedding planner. We knew it wasn’t in the budget to take a scouting trip to Italy, so we were stuck planning this huge amazing event sight unseen. That is just plain stressful for a type-A planner like myself! Not to mention, between the time difference, the language barrier, and the government authorities not being all that keen on Americans getting legally married in the country, it was a very involved, drawn out planning process. It certainly taught me to go with the flow. All that being said, getting married at a 13th century monastery with a reception at a villa in Tuscany was one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. And the food! And the wine! And the views! Not to mention the fact that we were able to share it with 30 of our closest friends and family? I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, even if it was ten times more difficult. In hindsight, I would say everyone should do themselves a favor and hire a planner!
Was there anything that, when you showed up, was just totally off?
Much to our surprise, there wasn’t! We had a meeting with our venue manager when we got to town about four days before our guests, where we walked through each tiny detail of the wedding from welcome baskets, timing of the event, the cake design and linens. We made all the final decisions right then and there, and we were able to walk through all of the design elements I brought from the states. On the day of, I didn’t see the set up until after our guests were seated — everything was perfect!
We watched your wedding video on your blog and totally cried! You are so surrounded by love and joy. Is that part of what inspires your work?
You’re so sweet! I can’t watch it without crying too! Absolutely. I am constantly inspired by the kindness, the thoughtful actions and care that the people in my life show me, and those around them. I am humbled that I am blessed with such love from my husband, family and friends. There is nothing better in the world than finding happiness, finding a loving partner, and joining yourselves together for life. Marriage is such a beautiful thing!
What is the next step for Lucky & In Love?
Working with more awesome couples! I’m thrilled to be continuing to grow my business and team in both Arizona and California. If you had told me five years ago that not only would I be focusing on weddings and my own business full time, and in two states, I would’ve said you were crazy! And yet here we are. I need to pinch myself about once a week.
What adventure is up next for you?
Growing in my marriage and exploring this beautiful city! My husband and I love to travel, so we have some fun trips planned for spring and beyond. I’ve been a newlywed for all of four months, so it’s still the best adventure!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Lucky & In Love specializes in full service wedding planning, event design, and month-of coordination for day-of support. I will always take a consultation meeting with a potential new client for free, to see if we’re a good fit to work together. Consider it a free hour to ask an expert any questions you can think of!
Finally, my advice to brides? I find the best people to bring on to your wedding planning team are those that you’d actually want to hang out with in real life! When you click, you’ll know it.
Check out more of Katherine’s lovely weddings (and lucky couples!) at luckyandinlove.com